I’ve been meaning to post about this album for a while, without quite knowing what the hell to say about it that eloquently conveyed what I wanted to. As you can see, I decided to abandon eloquence. I’m just going to wing it and see what happens.
First off, I still have no idea how to describe these songs in terms that will help anyone that hasn’t heard them know what to expect. That’s probably important. What I can say is that Boduf Songs is the music of one Mat Sweet (and when I first saw that name, back when I listened to How Shadows Chase the Balance, I have to admit to thinking oh my, the guy who did the Grifriend song has taken a drastically different direction. It’s not the same Mat[thew] Sweet – that’s definitely important). I can also tell you that most other people tag it with folk, acoustic and slowcore. Others say it has a black metal aesthetic, Pitchfork – and who doesn’t take them at their word – called it doom-folk. I did see one person call it ‘evil folk music’, primarily, I presume, owing to the way the subject matter is handled (not, I point out, the subject matter itself. That’s probably important, too).
With that in mind, I did, quite briefly, ask myself if I should be disturbed by how close and comforting I find these songs. Why? Because the second I heard the final track – I Am Going Away and I Am Never Coming Back – I loved it. Quite a lot. It does that thing where it gets you at a completely different level than just heart and mind. It’s like a Grimm fairytale creeped up to me and started whispering sweet (no pun intended, but I’ll delight in it anyway) nothings and made my knees all watery the same way as when I blush under the gaze of a guy I’ve got a crush on. It’s really quite odd, not the least because somehow, some way, the lines stay with me until the hammer cracks my skull for the last time, I’ll stay with you until the blood has drained from you completely, sound like the most intimately romantic goodbye ever.
Maybe it’s just me and I should be disturbed by that. This Alone… could be the musical equivalent of being dangerously attracted to the softly spoken, charismatic, good looking guy who makes you feel totally safe to go off alone with him even though you’ve only just met and he turns out to be the kind of guy no one could quite bring themselves to warn you about, possibly because it’s the same guy they think about when they’re alone but don’t want anyone to know.
Hmm, I’m getting off track here… What it really is, is that these songs go to some disturbing, intimate places without ever being wholly discomfiting as you might expect from work of this nature – that in itself not only challenges me to think about them in a different way, but it also – ultimately – challenges the way I think full stop. Interesting.
If you’ve heard any of the previous albums, and here I’ll just make mention that I’m well familiar with the self-titled debut, Lion Devours the Sun, “The Straight Gait” or “A Great Difficulty in Getting to Heaven” and the aforementioned How Shadows Chase the Balance, you’ll notice a definite progression in terms of instrumentation, as percussion, bass and electric guitar take a more prominent (and welcome) role. Even if previous work could be called folk (a term I’d dispute even though I have nothing to counter it with), it’s far less likely to be applied here.
Nine tracks, each one able to find it’s own place next to you to nestle. I suggest getting to know them all well, they certainly make it easy considering half the time it feels like they know you well already. Oh, and here….take a listen to the song that makes mah knees all watery, and you are quite welcome to be disturbed by that, in fact, I fairly well expect most will. I, however, choose not to be.
Oh, and the album is available on vinyl and digital formats only (for the time being) – buy it at Kranky or whatever your favourite MP3 store is. I used Boomkat.